Veterinary assistants ensure that animals needing medical help are well cared for. They work with veterinarians and veterinary technicians to restrain animals, prepare the necessary tools for treatment, sanitize the environment, and take care of the animals afterward.
They may also perform administrative duties such as managing calls and appointments, keeping records, and discharging patients.
Becoming a veterinary assistant in Alabama can be a great choice for anyone with an affinity for animals and a desire to pursue a rewarding career in healthcare.
Before you can secure employment and begin to practice, however, there are quite a few steps you must pass through. We take a look at all of these below.
Steps to Becoming a Veterinary Assistant in Alabama
To become a veterinary assistant in Alabama, you must complete a formal training program. This process can take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years. See our guide below.
Step 1: Fulfilling the Prerequisites
Alabama does not have any rigid law regarding practicing as a veterinary assistant. That means you don’t even have to enroll in a training program. However, there are numerous advantages to doing so, and as such, it is the path of choice for many.
To enroll in most training programs, you must have a high school diploma or a GED. Alabama educational institutions offer online and in-person options to earn your high school diploma or GED.
Step 2: Training & Education
There is plenty of training programs to become veterinary assistants in Alabama. A few of these options also provide both online and on-campus study alternatives. The former can come in very handy, especially when it comes to getting certified as an approved veterinary assistant (AVA).
One thing to remember when applying for training program admissions is accreditation. While the state does not mandate accreditation, it becomes important when becoming certified.
Step 3: Veterinary Assistant Requirements & Certification in Alabama
Certification is not mandatory to practice as a veterinary assistant in Alabama. Many veterinary assistants choose to get certified anyway because it makes them more employable, and certain certification bodies are known to help members secure employment and contribute to growth in their careers.
While Alabama has a Veterinary Medical Association, it does not offer any certification option for veterinary assistants.
The most prominent certification alternative for veterinary assistants in Alabama remains the Approved Veterinary Assistant (AVA) certification offered by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA).
To become certified by NAVTA, aspiring veterinary assistants in Alabama may consider a handful of paths, including completing an online program through an approved institution. The second alternative is to complete an externship program. This is for people who aren’t working in veterinary practice but want to pursue a career.
Those already working at least 20 hours weekly as veterinary assistants also qualify to take the national exam and become certified.
Step 4: Securing Employment
After completing a program and getting certified, securing employment is the next step in your journey as a budding veterinary assistant. There are several associations, both nationwide and statewide, that may make your experience in the field a lot more enjoyable.
One example is the Alabama Veterinary Medical Association, which offers several resources and employment listings for veterinary assistants statewide.
Another option is the Veterinary Centers of America, which operates facilities nationwide and in Alabama.
Carriage Hills Animal Hospital and Pet Resort is another alternative located in Montgomery known to be very helpful towards veterinary assistants in the state.
Veterinary Assistant Schools & Programs in Alabama
Below is a list of some of Alabama’s most noteworthy veterinary assistant training programs.
- Calhoun Community College - In Decatur, Alabama, Calhoun Community College offers an excellent veterinary assistant training program lasting around eight months.
- Jefferson State Community College - Another alternative for aspiring veterinary assistants is to study at the Jefferson State Community College in Carson Rd, Birmingham, Alabama.
- Ross Medical Education Center - Alabama residents who live around Huntsville may consider studying at Ross Medical Education Center, another notable program with excellent hands-on training.
- Alabama Behavioral College - Lastly, aspiring veterinary assistants in Alabama who wish to become AVA-certified should consider studying online through Alabama Behavior College.
Veterinary Assistant Salary & Career Outlook in Alabama
Veterinary assistants in Alabama earn an average annual salary of $23,440. This is according to data revealed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those who fall into the top ten percent of earners may earn up to $31,480.
Location is one of the most prominent factors determining how much a veterinary assistant earns in the state. Vet assistants in Auburn-Opelika, for instance, earn an annual average salary of $28,030, while those in Huntsville make slightly lower at $24,640.
Those in Montgomery and Tuscaloosa can look forward to an annual average salary of $23,950 and $23,660, respectively.